Myths about online threats impact computer security

May 25, 2011

A new study from Michigan State University found people have very different ideas about what poses a threat to their computer security.

Rick Wash is professor at Michigan State University. He says most people know about hackers. But many believe hackers are mischievous teenagers looking for attention:

“People think, well, if it’s just a teenager, I’m obviously going to notice it if there’s a problem. It doesn’t make sense for them a teenager would break into their computer and they wouldn’t notice anything. Whereas, in the real world, these hackers are breaking into computers in a way that isn’t being noticed.”

Wash says virus and hacker protection programs need to be tailored to the user’s beliefs about computer security to actually work. Wash says misinformation can leave computer owners vulnerable to security threats.

-Bridget Bodnar, Michigan Radio News